Why is hope a companion of power and the mother of success?

Hope… is the companion of power and the mother of success; for who so hopes has within him the gift of miracles.

Samuel Smiles

Psychological research confirms that statement.*


Haitao Sun has conducted research that proves that people with high levels of hope are more active, flexible and persistent in achieving their goals.

In this context, the old saying ” While there’s life there’s hope.” previously associated with passive expectation of a miracle, takes on a new dimension. People who did not believe in their abilities and at the same time focused on their failures were more exposed to depression than people who, despite the tendency to persistently analyze their mistakes were able to find hope that everything would be all right.

According to the researchers, the tendency to ruminate on the one hand is associated with persistent focus on given emotions that are not conducive to adaptation, because it pulls strength and attention away from active search for solutions, on the other hand, it is associated with introspection that promotes adaptation.

Introspection is the examination of one’s conscious thoughts and feelings.

People who can observe their thoughts and feelings get better insight into their reactions and emotional states.

Interestingly, well-focused self-knowledge, accompanied by openness and flexibility can effectively reduce the risk of depression.

Hope for success is one, according to achievement motivation, a basic driving force of business operations. Having hope means that we not only focus attention on the goal, but we want to achieve it as soon as possible. When we finally reach it, we feel joy and pride. Endorphins are produced and we have energy and motivation for further actions and new goals. Achieving the goal increases our sense of control.

Perception of hope in task-oriented cultures

Hoping for success plays an extremely important role in the task-oriented culture in which we currently live.

In task-oriented cultures, achieving a goal is the most important thing. According to Richard Gesteland and his “great division of cultures”, transactional cultures are those where the most important thing is to perform a given task. These cultures include North American, Scandinavian, Germanic, Australia, and New Zealand. In recent years, the influence of transactional cultures is visible in Poland. Under the influence of Americanization, we adopted behavioral patterns, and thus a task-oriented functioning. I have never observed such popularity of training in personal effectiveness, the flourishing of applications and programs for task management, ‘to-do’ lists, etc. in my life. All motivational speakers, celebrity personal trainers and other specialists who supervise us in carrying out more tasks. Sometimes I wonder how much this pressure helps us, and how much it leads to burnout. The method of dealing with task-oriented reality in which we want to maintain a high level of hope is to turn to mysticism. Burned out managers leave corporations, where for years they were forced to achieve appropriate results, targets, and deadlines, and set off with a backpack in the Himalayas, move to the countryside or stitch in convents or ashrams. People treated like robots after a few years are completely burned out and are looking for a change, looking for meaning in life and a new definition of their place on earth.

IMG_7571Approach to hope in social-oriented cultures

We live during times of information overflow, a fast pace of life, work and constant pressure of success. The number of tasks seems endless, the pace seems to be increasing, and our perception and ability to process and analyze information is decreasing.

How not to lose hope for the success that we want so much?

Is the price we pay for this success too high? To keep hope alive I suggest exploring social-oriented cultures. They can be found in African, Arab or Asian countries. We can physically move to different latitudes, sometimes just south of Europe is enough to feel a different attitude towards life.

Even in Spain, people work to live, not the other way round and in Italy, they practice ‘dolce far niente’ (sweet doing nothing).

I also recommend reaching out for the Sufi tales **

For centuries sufi masters have instructed their disciples utilizing these teaching stories, which are said to increase perception and knowledge and provide a better understanding of man and the world.

Marek Kochan, in his book** “ Master Masur’s Turban” describes stories of a sufi master, Ibn Musa al Mansur, living in the fourteenth century, in Baghdad. In his book, he brings the wisdom of the East, which is so relevant to today’s world. The stories teach critical thinking, delivering speeches, maintaining focus of listeners’ attention and customer satisfaction. It is worth having an open mind and being able to learn from other cultures. This is what intercultural intelligence advocates.


According to several psychology research results , talent, skill, ability will not guarantee your success. Sure, it helps. In fact, it’s the psychological vehicles, such as grit, conscientiousness, self-efficacy, optimism and particularly hope, that really get you there. You can have the best engine in the world, but if you can’t be bothered to drive it, you won’t get anywhere.

According to hope theory, created in 1991 by Charles Snyder *** , hope is defined as

“a positive motivational state that is based on an interactively derived sense of successful (a) agency (goal-directed energy) and (b) pathways (planning to meet goals)” .

The person who has hope has the will and determination that goals will be achieved, and a set of different strategies at their disposal to reach their goals. Put simply: hope involves the will to get there, and different ways to get there.

Important psychological studies show that ability is important, but it’s the vehicles that actually get people where they want to go. Oftentimes, the vehicles even help you build up that ability you never thought you had. And hope — with its will and ways — is one of the most important vehicles of them all.

*Sun, H., Tan, Q., Fan, G., Tsui, Q. (2014). Different effects of rumination on depression: key role hope. International Journal of Mental Health Systems, 8:53. doi: 10.1186/1752 – 4458‑8 – 53

** Marek Kochan, “Turban Mistrza Mansura. Opowieści sufickie dla mówców i przywódców”

** Snyder, C. R., & Lopez, S. J. (2007). Positive psychology: The scientific and practical explorations of human strengths. Thousand Oaks, CA, US: Sage Publications

Make your life more positive and fulfilling

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Make your life more positive and fulfilling by exploring handpicked science-based tools designed for your business and personal life to flourish.